Imagine you´re on a vacation and you are lying at the beach enjoying the sun and everything is just awesome. What will happen after some time? If you are not some kind of a crazy sun worshipper that can take sunbathes for 12 hours without any breaks, you will need to go and cool down a little bit. Maybe in the water, maybe you just look for a shady spot.
Bearded dragons are the same. They lie in the sun for hours and enjoy the sun, they get on temperature and if they get too hot they open up their mouth to regulate their temperature or they switch to a cooler spot.
In this article you will learn what temperature your bearded dragon needs, what kind of temperatures are really important in your bearded dragon tank and how you can achieve those temperatures.
The Hot Spot
For the majority of new bearded dragon owners it is hard to believe how hot the hot spot for bearded dragons has to be. The hot spot temperature should be between 95 °F and 105 °F. I recommend to aim for the middle and go with 100 °F. Yes, those temperatures are really needed. Your bearded dragon will be baked, but that´s exactly what your bearded dragon needs.
I recommend to create a hot spot with various levels for your dragon. This way, your bearded dragon can decide if it needs it a little bit hotter or not that hot. For that I recommend to get some mopani wood like this. Place it under the basking light so that your bearded dragon can lie on it on multiple places. Obviously one should be closer to the basking bulb, the other should have a little bit more distance. Again, make sure that those places reach a temperature between 95 °F and 100 °F.
The Basking Bulb
You are probably wondering which heat bulb and fixture you should use for that. Here are you have a lot of options you can go with. You can buy one of those reptile basking lights. For example you can get 6 100W Bulbs from ZooMed like these (click here) for under 40 bucks. In my opinion this is a good deal, however sometimes those bulbs burn out quickly.
Basically you need a 100W bulb that gets warm. If you can´t reach the recommended temperature with your 100W bulb, you can either decrease the distance from basking bulb to basking spot, or you have to buy a bulb with higher wattage (150W)
If you need more options when it comes to heat lamps, read my guide on getting the right heat lamps for your bearded dragon. (Coming Soon)
The Ambient Temperature
The ambient temperature is the temperature in your whole beardie tank. The temperature should be between 78 °F and 88 °F. Most probably it will be warmer around the basking spot and a little bit cooler on the side of your tank that does not have a basking spot. That´s exactly what you want. (As long as you stay between 78 °F and 88 °F)
You need to give your bearded dragon the opportunity to cool down. You can even help your bearded dragon to cool down if you place a hide on the cool side of your terrarium and combine that with a substrate your bearded dragon can burrow itself in. I recommend to take this hide (click here) and this substrate (click here).
If you are worried that your bearded dragon might get impacted, try the substrate I recommend in this article.
Also I recommend you to read my article on impaction. It will help you to understand why your bearded dragon really eats sand.
If you are not able to reach this ambient temperature, you should use another heat bulb like this to increase the temperature in your tank. If the temperature gets too high you should use one with lower wattage.
During The Night
A lot of people have problems to reach the recommended temperature at night which is around 70 °F. In my opinion this temperature is easy to achieve if you didn´t place your dragon tank in the basement. If the temperature in the tank really drops below 70 °F I recommend to get a ceramic heater like this (click here) for the night.
The one I recommend has a low wattage. Remember, you need a lower temperature during the night, you don´t want to bake your bearded dragon.
Why You Have To Achieve Certain Temperatures
Bearded dragons are cold-blooded, which means that they need to regulate their body temperature themselves. They bath in the sun in the morning to get their body on temperature, otherwise they would not be able search food or defend their territory from other bearded dragons during the day.
To have the right lighting is vital when it comes to keeping bearded dragons. So always make sure that you have the best bulbs and that your temperature is on point. If you need more information on bearded dragon lighting, have a look at my lighting guide.
Why You Need A Good Thermometer
The majority of beardie keepers buy those cheap 2-in-1 thermometers for 5 bucks or so. I get it. The initial costs for bearded dragons are high, but it is important to check your temperature precisely. Just sticking a cheap temperature on the back of your tank won´t do the job properly. The wrong temperature can make your bearded dragon weak, it might not be able to hunt properly anymore and eventually it might get sick. So get a good thermometer.
Here are some thermometers I recommend. They are very precise and you can easily measure the hot spot´s temperature with them.
Laser Thermometer Gun
If you have any questions regarding bearded dragon temperature, leave a message in the comment section below and I do my best to help you out.